As I have stated in the past I have what I would consider a carefully managed fantasy prone personality. I didn’t always see it that way, I used to think the I was just spiritual, I thought this because I was raised in a fairly religious home, Protestant to be exact. And even as I began to distance myself from Christianity I simply thought that I was fostering a more scientific way of thinking, which was true enough, but what I hadn’t considered was that I still had that ‘spiritual’ personality. I first heard about the idea of a fantasy prone personality when listening to The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, SGU for short. First I started seeing the personality traits in the people around me, not everyone obviously but definitely my brothers, but then I realized that I was just as bad. Once I saw that I tended to follow the same patterns that the SGU had described, I caught myself doing all sorts of weird things that I hadn’t really ever thought about before.
One of these things was a habit I had gotten into of seeking number patterns, and not just in a passing way, I would spend whole hours here and there trying to fudge number so that they ‘felt’ better. As I would play games and write short stories I would always include these good ‘feeling’ numbers. I always stay on a channel that is discussed, codes, numerology, ciphers, Pi, or anything to do with the symbolic nature of numbers.
Now I, having developed that scientific mind for thing like I said, do not buy into any of that numerology crap. If that offends you I don’t care because if you think that the numerologic representation of your name birthday or any other information has anything to do with your character or personality, then you are cracked and I could not care less about your opinion of me. However, I do find myself drifting by to the theme of numbers when ever I have an idol moment in the day and I think up some character or story. I find numbers to be intriguing in a fundamental way, and I love when they are woven into a plot.
When I doodle I try to incorporate prime numbers when I can, I love forming progressions and patterns based on the number 3 or 7 or 12. Those are my favorites… 3, the trinity, the triade, the triangle… it fits everywhere, and therefore appears everywhere, woven into the fabric of everything, so powerful a concept they build a mathematical field on top of, Trigonometry. And 12, which as the added appeal of being a multiple of three. It is divisible by one,two, three, four, and six. A utility number if ever there was one, we base our time on it because t works so well, some people would propose converting to a decimal time system, but that’s a terrible idea, if anything we should change of math system to a duodecimal (base-12) one. Then there’s 7… I love seeing seven of anything lined up in row, by height if possible. And 7 is especially symbolic, seven days of the week, seven deadly sins, seven classical colors of the rainbow, seven classical heavenly bodies. The seventh son of a seventh son is said to have magic abilities, the number is soaked in the the fabrics of ancient myth.
But my fascination is not limited to just these numbers, I like squares, the function not the shape. For squares I like the 2 family, 2, 4, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, I could recite more but I tend to like these eight most. I enjoy the 5 family of squares, 5, 25, 125, which I now realize is not actually a proper family of squares, but nonetheless there is something quite attractive to me about this progression and I gravitate toward them.
Then there are the the Fibonacci Numbers, which seem to show themselves everywhere in nature, especially in plants, you’ve probably heard the examples, sunflowers, pinecones, pineapples, and loads of others. The has long been held a grand mystery of the secret knowledge of Nature inciting many conspiracy theories, and other paranoid delusions. But in my mind nothing is more obvious, image that you are a plant, you have no knowledge, no thoughts, no intuition, all you have is DNA, and code of acid bonds that provide a deceptively simple set of instructions; make more of yourself. To my mind if you want the simplest set of instructions for multiplying one’s self in a unique pattern then the best way to accomplish that is to add one’s self to yourself. which is in the end what the Fibonacci Sequence is. If you are a seed then you are 1, add yourself to yourself and you get 2, add that to yourself and you get 3, add that to yourself and you get 5, add that to yourself and you get 8, and so on.
Last but not least in my opinion in the king of all mysteriously intriguing numbers, Pi. So massive it’s better to just write it’s name, and yet it’s not very large at all, just three and a bit. When ever I think of of Pi I am reminded of a fake article I once read saying that they had finally calculated Pi using a supercomputer. My brothers had swallowed it whole and were telling everyone they knew. I decided to check it out because I was more familiar with the concept and was skeptical. Low and behold it was a gag, much to the disappointment of my brothers, but in the end what I remember most is the fact that I had always been told that there was a chance that the number could be finite, but in the moment that I heard there declaration, it felt wrong. What you have to keep in mind when trying to understand Pi is that it is not a magic number what it is in fact is a ratio, it tells you the relationship of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. Most people’s eyes start to glaze over at the sound of that statement, but really all it means in that the outside of a circle is always roughly 3 times the its width for side to side. It is only considered infinite because that proportion is so particular it cant be 3 and it can’t be 3.2 and what is so intrigue about it is the it eludes precise measurement. So Pi is both infinite and finite, simple and complex, no surprise then that it should be so mysterious to so many.
I love numbers, they inhabit a strange no man’s land between the world of the physical and the world of the ideal, the can describe the form of perfect geometries as well as the mundane shapes and quantities of the real world. When used with the right care they can surprise, confuse, or inspire awe. If you let them they can make your world feel fantastic, filled with hidden meanings and codes, though they may be no nefarious intent behind them they can still make you wonder at the structure of the world around you.
And that’s my take on numbers.